Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The most natural thing in the world

The breastfeeding in public debate has come up again on social media and normally I don't feel as strongly about it but this time I did (probably the hormones).

The most recent debate started because Christina Torino-Benton breastfed her baby during her wedding and posted photos online to a breastfeeding support group. This is more on the story for anyone interested

I've seen the photos and unless I've missed something I wouldn't have even known she was breastfeeding so I'm not quite sure why some people are getting upset by it. Instead what I see is a beautiful, happy bride on her wedding day.

I tried to breastfeed Alice and it was a disaster for a number of reasons, one of them being I just didn't like it. I decided instead to express/pump and top up with formula. And you know what? I actually received quite a bit of criticism from all sides. Some mothers who breastfed thought I should 'just put baby on my breast' and that I was 'cancelling out the goodness of breastmilk' and others that bottle/formula fed thought I should just switch to formula and be done with it. Talk about not being able to do anything right, huh?

It saddens me when I'm with breastfeeding mothers and they ask (sometimes in their own houses) 'do you mind if I breastfeed?' You wouldn't ask me if I was ok with you feeding your baby a yogurt in my presence so you have no need to ask where breastfeeding is concerned. Thank you for the thought but you do what you got to do mama, baby's hungry!

It still amazes me that these debates continue and the assumptions that are made about mothers (and fathers too!)
Many people presumed that I must feel terrible that I didn't or couldn't breastfeed and I did for a while because I felt I was a failure as I wasn't doing what society expected but deep down I know I made the right decision and I can live with that comfortably. On the other hand people sometimes presume I must see breastfeeding mothers as ''elitest'' and 'earth mothers' which makes me laugh even more! Could it be possible I'm happy with my choice and happy for others to make theirs?

This topic was discussed on This Morning where Holly Willoughby defended women's rights to breastfeed in public without having to feel the need to cover up. I really don't understand the covering up thing. I have never seen a woman sitting with full breasts out to feed her baby, all you can see is a babies head and being honest I don't think I notice when women are breastfeeding half the time. So where does the offence come from? I am genuinely intrigued. Women post skimpy selfies and that's ok but breastfeeding is a taboo topic to post on social media? I'm not saying women shouldn't post skimpy selfies I merely wonder why one is more acceptable then the other.

I hear lots of women say how breasts are made to feed babies and are not sexual objects and I understand where they are coming from but being honest for me breasts are capable of being sexual and producing food for babies.

I wonder if this is why some people have an issue with seeing breastfeeding in public, it challenges the notion that breasts are not just sexual (or are sexual at all) and if so I understand where that uncomfortable feeling comes from. However, this gives no one the right to ask women to cover up. The way I see it, if you feel uncomfortable they are YOUR feelings to deal with not that mothers. Mothers have enough crap on their plates without worrying about how you feel about their feeding choice.

What an odd society we live in where we are sometimes almost militant about mothers breastfeeding their babies but then telling them 'oh no not here! Put a pashmina over yourself!' This thing that is so natural, so good, so beautiful that we must never see it in public or on social media? HA!

For mothers who are breastfeeding, forget the haters, their feelings are their problems to manage not yours. You feed your baby, you be happy, that is the most important thing.

For mothers who are expressing, don't listen to anyone who looks down your choice. Maybe you're expressing because feeding direct from 'the source' is too stressful? Or maybe it's important for you and your partner that they feed baby too? Whatever your reason be proud, be happy, these are the most important things.

For mothers who are formula feeding don't you dare let yourself feel inadequate. Youre feeding your baby, you are doing your best, your baby is healthy and loved. Be proud and be happy, these are the most important things.

For ALL mothers, be proud and own your parenting choices. Feeding your baby however you do it is the most natural thing in the world.

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